Coronavirus (COVID-19): The Centre has asked all states and Union Territories to ramp up the number of samples collected across the country for testing to at least 2.5 lakh by April 14 — when the 21-day national lockdown period ends.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Arora said the target was conveyed by the Union Health Ministry in a video-conference with Health Secretaries of all states and UTs Wednesday. “We were told that 1 lakh samples have been collected in India till date, and by April 14 we have to take it up to 2.5 lakh samples,” he said.
As of 9 pm Thursday, a total of 1,44,910 samples had been tested nationwide, including 30,299 from Maharashtra, from where the maximum number of positive cases (1,135) have been reported.
Based on suggestions from states, the Centre has already indicated that various restrictions on the movement of people will continue after April 14 — a final call will be taken based on the trajectory of infections after April 10.
Haryana, which has reported 156 cases so far, has sent 2,964 samples for testing out of which 2,017 have come out negative while results are awaited in 791.
“Detailed directions have been issued to doctors and medical staff that another round of testing shall be launched across the state from Friday,” Arora said.
On the state’s strategy to achieve the Centre’s target in the next five days, he said: “We took Haryana’s figures of sample-testing, and decided that we shall also increase it by 1.5 times, going by the formula adopted by the Government of India. Since our number today (Thursday) is around 3,000 samples, we shall be taking it up to around 7,000-7,500 in the next five-six days.”
Arora said 450 samples will be tested in each of Haryana’s hotspots, including the four districts of Gurugram, Nuh, Palwal and Faridabad, and a minimum of 125 samples each in all other areas. “A few more samples will be tested in Panchkula, Panipat and Ambala,” he said.
Arora said the criteria for identifying people for testing is “already set”. “For instance, our fever clinics are there, and we shall take the samples of anyone who comes with either influenza-like symptoms or acute respiratory disorder,” he said.
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“In March, our sampling was approximately 750-800. But, in the last seven days, we have reached approximately 3,000 samples. We are now doing almost 400 samples per day. Considering the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi, we have done intensive sampling of the entire group (in Haryana). All of them have been quarantined and kept under isolation,” Arora said.
Two of the cases reported in Haryana Thursday, both from Panchkula, have been linked to the Tablighi gathering, he said — the third, in Kaithal, is a nine-year-old boy.
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